#TobyTrip: Dulles. To Atlanta. To London. On Christmas Eve. (12/24)


It's Christmas Eve. Kyla and I are a Dulles - early - waiting on our flight to Atlanta, and then, on to London where we should wake up after an all-night flight, on Christmas Day.

"Sounds like a movie," Jill, my boss, said when I shared the plan with her during one of our Monday meetings.

I think that's kind of the point.

I get that the idea of Christmas in London is pretty romantic... and as I sit here in the International Terminal Washington Redskins Team Bar writing you this now, I can't deny that there's a certain "romantic" about this trip. It's probably why I was so inclined to try to make it happen when Kyla asked me about going to London as "her Christmas gift" this year.

Sipping on this Tito's and Cranberry, I can tell you that while I'm glad I planned this trip early... I have some concerns.

One: The fact that we booked a flight on KLM and that somehow that became Delta... and then, that same KLM flight connects to a Virgin Atlantic flight.

Two: We LAND in Atlanta when our flight to Heathrow starts boarding. We've got 50 minutes on the ground to make it to the connecting flight... so we can continue on across the Atlantic to London. I'm consistently late... #TobyTime is a thing... but even for me... this feels like I'm cutting it close.

At some point in my life, I'm going to "get" the idea that you can plan with more than enough time to enjoy a trip... without cutting it too close for comfort... without putting myself - and my daughter - in a position where I'm in "hurry-up" offense mode trying to pull off some fourth quarter heroics. Sure, there's a thrill in it... but anymore, the thrill-to-anxiety ratio - formerly known as the grief-to-gain ratio - is out of whack. That old algorithm just doesn't compute like it used to do.

Right now, to my left in this Redskins' Bar at Dulles, is a guy who has a massive championship ring on his finger. At the other end of the bar is a good looking blonde traveler, in her mid to late 20's. The two of 'em are chatting whilst she charges her devices. A younger gentleman, traveling to Dallas - but a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles - has just entered via stage left. I'm on the right side of the bar, finishing a drink, writing you while I people-watch. I've got an hour to go before our flight... which, I need to remember, is domestic... until Atlanta.

Christmas Eve at Dulles. It's surprisingly busy for being 13:00 hours on the afternoon before Santa comes.

We've got two hours to go until we get on our flight for London... and I hope we make it. We won't have any time to stop, mess around, get some snacks... We've gotta traverse two terminals on a train in Atlanta to make it to where our plane is. I've gotta admit, I'm kinda stressed... and while the Tito's is helping to keep the 'anxiousness' at bay... I know it's there. I feel it stoking the "Superman" fire...

... I've gotta get that whole "hero" thing in check in 2020.

But first, I've gotta make sure Kyla and I make this connection in Atlanta.

This could be interesting...

I just paid my tab, and am making my way to the airport version of a 7-Eleven to get what Kyla might want for the flight. We've got 60 minutes 'til takeoff. Let's see how this goes...

More to follow.

Toby Knapp

Toby Knapp

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